Review: Old European.

Old European restaurant is located in Spokane, Washington. (Photo by Michael Freeman).

Old European restaurant is located in Spokane, Washington. (Photo by Michael Freeman).

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON – Sometimes you find exactly what it is you’re looking for, but in the least likely places.
Most major cities, and virtually every big urban enclave, provides visitors and residents alike with that most familiar of roadway sites, the franchise chain restaurant. It could be providing fast food, or it could be offering something more upscale, but essentially everyone recognizes the name, and goes there because they know exactly what they’re going to get.
But what if you’re one of those patrons, like me, who has a craving instead for the unpredictable, for the surprise meal that doesn’t taste like it was made assembly-style?
There will be times when it feels like an uphill climb as you cruise down those busy commercial corridors and see one chain after another. But then ….
It’s called The Old European Breakfast House, and it’s a restaurant located on a busy commercial strip. Continue reading

Review: Al Capone’s Dinner & Show.

Al Capone's Dinner & Show is on U.S. 192 in Kissimmee. (Photo by R.T. Robeson.)

Al Capone’s Dinner & Show is on U.S. 192 in Kissimmee. (Photo by R.T. Robeson.)

KISSIMMEE – When Congress got around to doing away with the Prohibition movement and the ban on alcohol sales, some things went out the window along with it, including bootlegging or rum-running.
But something else became obsolete: so-called Speakeasys. Who needs a secret nightclub where you can sneak in and get served booze when you could suddenly buy it anywhere you liked?
Recreating that bygone era is the schtick behind one of Central Florida’s popular dinner theaters, Al Capone’s Dinner & Show. If most of the dinner theaters in Central Florida aim is to let folks enjoy a good performance while having a relaxing dinner right there on the premises, Capone’s is a bit different. Continue reading

News of Hostess bankruptcy puts a damper on popular local dessert.

Hostess snack cakes known as Twinkies are used at the Hamburger Mary’s restaurant in Orlando to make the popular Fried Twinkies dessert. (Photo by Michael Freeman).

ORLANDO – When the news hit John Paonessa, he instantly knew it was going to have an impact on his business, potentially depriving his customers of something that he gets request for on a daily basis.
“It’s our most popular dessert,” he said.
Paonessa is the owner of Hamburger Mary’s, the restaurant at Church Street Station at 110 W. Church St. in downtown Orlando, which in addition to hosting Bingo nights, drag shows and cabarets also features a popular item on the menu: Fried Twinkies.
Problem is, Hamburger Mary’s may soon be losing a key ingredient for making it: Twinkies themselves.
“If they’re not available, we have no choice” but to pull it off the menu, Paonessa told Freeline Media.
“Mary relives her youth with this treat,” the menu notes in describing Fried Twinkies, which are deep-fried, then served with strawberry sauce, whipped cream and powdered sugar. As Paonessa noted, Hamburger Mary’s has been serving this delectable delight for decades.
“We’ve been here almost five years, and we’ve always had it,” he said. “The (Hamburger Mary’s) company is 40 years old this year, so they’ve been doing it for even longer.”
But now the restaurant chain is up against a big hurdle: the possible demise of the Twinkie, a snack cake owned by Hostess Brands and marketed as a “Golden Sponge Cake with Creamy Filling.” Continue reading

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